Everest (2015)
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Everest (2015)

Many people are always working for something that defines mankind and places us above the animals. There are many answers that meet the criteria one of the best is that humanity is the only species endeavor to do something never before achieved just for the experience doing. Mount Everest, lying on the border between Nepal and Tibet rises over 29,000 feet making it the tallest point on this planet. Although Concord many years ago it still draws the adventurous daring them to make the treacherous ascent. The latest film regarding this majestic peak is aptly named ‘Everest’ depicting the infamous 1966 disaster that claimed the lives of eight people. Despite the inherent danger of such an endeavor, climbing to the top about Everest has been commercialized with several policies and guides regularly taking clients up one of the two main routes, the North face of the southern col. by all accounts out of respect for the lives lost in the fortitude of the survivors the screenplay was kept closer to the actual events than usually found any movie posting ‘based on true events’. In order to get the story to fit the time available for a feature-length film is understandable that some dramatic license had been taken. The most important aspect of the film is that it sought to capture the essence of people subjected to some of the most brutal conditions imaginable. I’ve spoken to people who dismiss such endeavors as a form of social Darwinism pulling out individuals locking the common sense to stay out of danger. People such as that do not appreciate are that the spirit of adventure is not intrinsically part of human nature but it’s what drives us as a civilization to greater heights and understanding. Do suggest that you try to keep such thoughts in mind as you watch this movie. Certainly the dangers in this film has been synthesized for dramatic effect real lives forever affected all lost in the real events that serve as the foundation for the story.

In the spring of 1996 several professional guides and their support personnel gathered at Mount Everest to prepare for their latest season adventurous clients. The pioneer of commercial trucks to the summit of Mount Everest, Rob Hall (Jason Clarke) makes preparations for the tour guide service he founded, Adventure Consultants. Also preparing for an ascent is Scott Fischer (Jake Gyllenhaal), an experienced guide and senior expedition leader for their rival company, Mountain Madness. Among Rob’s clients are Beck Weathers (Josh Brolin), was an experienced climber as was Yasuko Namba (Naoko Mori). She was looking forward to completing her dream, conquering ‘The Seven Summit Challenge’, requiring reaching the top of the seven highest mountains, one on each continent. The more controversial aspects of commercialized tour such as this is that it provides an opportunity for regular people to attempt climes that are daunting to even the most experienced mountaineers. Doug Hansen (John Hawkes), a retired letter carrier. Jon Krakauer (Michael Kelly), join the expedition on behalf of the adventure oriented Outside Magazine. The group led by Rob using the southern access to reach the top floor completely documented because of the presence of Mr. Krakauer and the subsequent books and articles that were based on their experiences.

Two expeditions reaching for the peak simultaneously is an understandable concern about overcrowding the pathways. In order to minimize delays and other problems Rob proposes to Scott that they cooperate together. Although rivals in business and the fact that both men very much alpha males in highly competitive, they were first and foremost professionals placing the lives of themselves and their charges above all else. Scott agrees that such cooperation would be the most prudent course of action. Despite the fact that Mount Everest is one of the most remote places on the planet the relative popularity of such expeditions does result in some bottleneck situations that can delay all concerned parties. It doesn’t take too long into the film before things begin to go wrong. The matter how well planned for the ascent may be inevitably there will be circumstances and situations that are unexpected. They discover that the guide ropes for the season were not yet fully installed which results in an over an hour delay. Next Beck experiences difficulty in seeing. As was later determined he had had corrective surgery on his eyes and the effects of altitude and other harsh conditions produced previously unknown side effects.

Even a foray that would be considered relatively routine there’s an unbelievable amount of danger constantly present. One of the worst possible things that can happen suddenly came to past creating even more intense the dangerous situation for this band of intrepid adventurers; a blizzard. Gail force winds and freezing snow can be deadly at sea level for people 5 ˝ miles up into the thinning atmosphere it represents one of the most dangerous environments man has encountered. Even a very experienced climber such as Scott is at the mercy of biological responses such extremely harsh conditions. His breathing becomes labor and ones begin to fill with fluid in a condition known as space high-altitude pulmonary edema. Exacerbating the threat that his life he begins to run out of air, crucial to breathe in the rarefied upper atmosphere. The resulting hypoxia not only physically weakens the affected person but it severely diminishes mental acuity during normal decision-making abilities.

This is a superb cast that respectfully conveys the hardships and sorrows faced by this group. The devastating effect upon those waiting at home such as Rob’s pregnant wife, Jan (Keira Knightley) was last contacted has been was a disagreement over the name of their yet unborn daughter. It is not unusual for a film of this type to overlook the feminine perspective. The point of view of the wife as well as a woman in the team provides a formal encompassing foundation for the audience to bond with the characters and become emotionally invested with them. One downside that hinders the fullness of character development is that although the number of climates with relatively small for narratives of this type it is not conducive to providing sufficient time for the audience to get to know the characters as unique individuals.

The current state-of-the-art for movies has reached the point with 3-D is no longer a gimmick that is being utilized as an integral part of telling the story realistically to the viewer. This month ‘Everest’ has been released to 3-D home video along with another adventurous biopic, ‘The Walk’. Both have to do with men literally reaching for great heights and both give the cinematographer and director incredible business uses the backdrop for this stories. Movie such as this is greatly benefited by the illusion of depth and how, enhanced by a robust surround sound audio track, bring your perspective 29,000 feet above you are currently sitting. As all fans of film will attest, we can be grateful that we are beyond the thrusting cylindrical objects out past the plane of the film. Many of the most chilling special-effects here is rent 3-D camera heightens your sense of just how far both the craggy snow tip rocks below you are. In this film reels 3-D is used for the incredible effectiveness enhancing not only how dangerous the situation is but help breathtakingly beautiful vistas off about vantage point. It helps you understand why people would risk their safety stand on top of the world; the view was absolutely incredible.

bulletRace to the Summit: The Making of Everest
bulletLearning to Climb
bulletA Mountain of Work
bulletAspiring to Authenticity: The Real Story
bulletFeature Commentary with Director Baltasar Kormákur

Posted 01/18/2016

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